The Best 5 Cross Training Exercises For Runners

Running is one of the best exercises for boosting your cardiovascular fitness, endurance and stamina. However, despite its many benefits, running does neglect some important areas of your fitness and if it’s the only exercise in your training regime, your health and fitness will suffer. This article will help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you by listing 5 of the top cross training exercises for runners.

1 – Cycling

Cycling is a great cardio exercise that can blast through up to 1,000 calories per hour and shares many benefits with running. However, unlike running, cycling is a low impact cardio exercise and places very little pressure on your joints. This makes it a perfect exercise to cross train with when your ankles, hips or knees are feeling a little sore from running.

2 – Planks

A strong set of core muscles helps you maintain good posture while you run and prevents lower back pain. This improved posture also allows you to run more efficiently and has a positive effect on your running speed and performance.

Planks are one of the best exercises out there for strengthening your core muscles and you can benefit from them by planking for just a few minutes each day. To perform planks, follow the instructions below:

1.Kneel down and put your forearms on the floor.
2.Lift your knees off the floor, balance on your toes and forearms, keep your back straight and hold your core muscles tight.
3.Hold this position for as long as you can manage.

Watch This Video Demonstration Of The Plank

3 – Push Ups

Running’s a fantastic lower body exercise but it does very little for the muscles in your upper body. By cross training with push ups, you can ensure that the muscles in your upper body get a solid workout too.

To perform push ups, follow the instructions below:

1.Kneel down and put your hands on the floor, making sure they are in line you’re your chest and about a shoulder width apart.
2.Straighten your legs out behind you, balance on your toes and hands, keep your back straight and hold your core muscles tight.
3.Slowly bend your arms and stop when your nose touches the ground.
4.Slowly straighten your arms and lift your body back up to the starting position.
5.Repeat steps 3-4 for as many reps as you can manage.

Here’s a short video on the correct form for a push up. You can do these workouts anywhere and don’t need any equipment. Get in shape, get healthy, get that gorgeous body you’ve always wanted.

4 – Squats

Strong leg muscles lower your injury risk and allow you to run with more power, speed and endurance. Squats are the ultimate exercise for developing strength in your leg muscles and by cross training with squats, you can significantly boost your running performance.

Squats can be performed with just your own bodyweight or alternatively you can use barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells to add resistance. The instructions below explain how to perform dumbbell squats:

1.Pick up two dumbbells (one in each hand), hold them by your side and stand up straight with a slight bend in your knees.
2.Hold your elbows tight to your body, keep your palms facing inward and slowly curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, stopping when your bicep muscles are fully flexed.
3.Slowly bend your legs and lower your body down toward the ground until your butt is in line with your knees, making sure that you keep your back straight at all times.
4.Slowly straighten your legs and lift your body back up to the starting position.
5.Repeat steps 3-4 for as many reps as you can manage.
6.After you’ve completed the final rep, slowly place the dumbbells on the floor and then move them to the dumbbell rack.

Learn how to perform the dumbbell squat which is a staple exercise for any athlete looking to gain speed and power. SportsGist.com connects athletes with experts via our online community. Athletes will have access to expert guidance and information on sports specific training, strength and conditioning, nutrition and recruiting. The sports professionals at SportsGist.com will help athletes of all abilities achieve their goals both on and off the field.

5 – Swimming

Swimming is a brilliant multi-functional exercise that boosts your cardiovascular fitness, strengthens and tones your muscles and works off an impressive 660 calories per hour (in a 150lb person). It’s a top exercise to cross train with while recovering from your runs because the water has a soothing effect on your joints and muscles and the swimming motion is very gentle on your body.

Summary

By incorporating these 5 exercises into your training regime, you’ll boost your recovery speeds, reduce your injury risk, improve your strength levels and more. Not only will this have a positive effect on your overall health and fitness but it will also make you a better runner and allow you to perform at your peak.